Can you do what you think you cannot?

As I prepare to launch my second book Eleanor Roosevelt’s question can you do what you think you cannot is very real for me.  I want to share the beginnings of my journey of me getting to a place where I felt I could put anything to paper was hard for me. I want to share what my initial conversations with God to illuminate my struggle with what the Holy Spirit was calling me too. My hope is that you may see similarities to where you are or possibly uncover new insights.

My starting point was learning how to slow down. For me slowing down began with the prayer—

Be Still and Know That I Am God

Be Still and Know That I Am

Be Still and Know

Be Still

Be

—coupled with learning to take slow breaths. In my slowing down and becoming more present, I had more capacity to connect with others. I began to see where my life might be more “human doing” than “human being.”

After learning to slow down, my next challenge was learning to say “no.” With the help of a patient and brilliant executive coach, Dr. Lynn Nodland, I learned that if I say yes to something, then I am saying no to something else. Through weekly conversations with Lynn, I learned to hold space to write, to say yes to me, and to more deeply trust God’s call for me to help others awaken the gifts within them. What amazes me is that if you slow down and listen to God’s call, He is there waiting for you. When you learn to listen to God’s voice He will meet you where you are and provide exactly what you need. It may not be what you expect, but I have come to trust that He provides what I need.

Making time for reflection and prayer were big wins for me. I have always had prayer time but it was rushed, and I usually was exhausted. In slowing down, in learning to say “no” to overscheduling and not getting enough sleep, I began to feel better. Now in my daily prayer, I had energy, I had attention, and I heard the Holy Spirit calling me to document the stories and one-on-one experiences I have had with people.

The call was to write, which is hard for me. This call was bigger than anything I could accomplish on my own. Surely something divine was in play if I was going to be able to get thoughts, stories or ideas to paper. This must be holy because heaven knows writing does not come easily to me. I love to tell stories, but ideas that are in my heart and soul seem to get lost by the time they get to my elbow and flow out into the world rather than taking a turn and making it all the way to my fingertips on the keyboard.

Humbly, I prayed, “God, I hear you. I have seen you move mountains, and I have seen hearts transform into all you hoped for. But God, this thing you are calling me to do—it’s too big for me. I can’t do this alone. I don’t have the strength to take this to a larger audience. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I don’t have time, Lord. I struggle with details; I move too fast. I need help.”

Now, looking at these words on paper, I see that after all my years of guiding and coaching others I suddenly found myself standing face to face with the deeply held misbeliefs that I was not good enough or smart enough to do as God had called me. Even though I had studied scripture about God equipping those He calls, I was drowning in self-doubt. All my insecurities stood in front of me like a huge tree, and I was in the shadows. Was I going to listen to my inner voices of doubt or was I going to trust God to guide my hands, feet, and heart where He would have me go?

Through my Bible Study Fellowship, my weekly time with God (Sabbath) and daily prayers, I have had major insights and continual growth. For years, I worshiped and studied God, but when push came to shove, I didn’t fully trust Him. Instead, I always trusted my reasoning more than God’s will. I have had to learn to let go of my ways and learn to trust God—really trust Him—to guide me.

Weaving spiritual practices into my day have helped me stay connected with Him. By staying in His Word and daily bringing Him my insecurities and worldly challenges, I’ve discovered that He always shows me a path forward. I have learned to turn away from those things that separate me from God so that His face can shine upon mine. Trusting God takes daily connection and commitment. When I feel close to Him and sense God’s loving presence, my life feels so much clearer; I feel more loving.

I am still learning to slow down and let go of what separates me from God. It is a journey, one that we should take with one another. Being in a relationship with others is so powerful in learning more about who we are and allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through others. The wisdom I gain in my Moms in Prayer group is so powerful and intimate as the Holy Spirit provides pieces from others prayers that woven together paint a beautiful message of hope, mercy, and grace. I encourage you to find others to pray with and discover who you are and whose you are.

If you want to read stories of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit at work in myself and others, make sure to check out my book Seeing Yourself as God Sees You: Don’t Let Lies be Your Truth. I hope the stories will engage, equip and empower you to be who you are, to thrive and be amazing!

seeing-frontcover-1

Advertisements

Do you stand behind a closed door?

Last night in my Authentic and Courageous Leadership graduate class at St. Mary’s University the topic of discussion was the value of learning lessons from our life journey. The questions I posed to the class were – Do they make time for daily or regular reflection in their personal and professional lives? Whom do they get feedback from? Do they have peers, family members, or confidants in whom will tell it to them straight without sugar coating the truth? What are they learning from their journey?

As we walk through life, we may find ourselves at the same challenging intersections time, after time, after time. If you are like me, this can be frustrating. I wonder what did I miss the first time I went around this block. Why am I here again at the same intersection? Making time for reflection and being open to seeing help me learn. This is a critical part of being wholly human.

Key components of being human are courage and humility. I know a colleague who defines courage as when the soul is at work, and the heart is at risk.  Having the courage to pause and look back, having the courage to see experiences and interactions from a different perspective, having the courage to consider different choices of how we behave opens us to higher possibilities of who we are made to be. We are human, which means we are not completely baked, we are not completed, not one and done. We are in fact people that are alive and that are evolving and emerging into who we are made to be. Living with deep humility in the awareness that we are all flawed, all broken and all human is a place where we should be operating from. This foundational truth should be our operating system. Instead, we tend to go to confidence, bold and loud. Thus missing the beauty and wonder of the small, intimate, vulnerable and human.

We are human, which means we are not completely baked. We are in fact people that are alive and constantly evolving and emerging into who we are made to be. Living with deep humility in the awareness that we are flawed, broken and human is the place where we should be operating from. This foundational truth should be our operating system. Instead, we tend to go to with overconfidence, boldness and being loud. When we work from this place, we miss the beauty and wonder of the humble, vulnerable, quiet and human.

I love the saying when life closes a door, God always opens a window. My wondering is how many of us either in stubbornness or fear stand behind the closed door and never find the courage to find the open window?

When life happens, because it always does, we must find the courage to leave what we have known and be open to what is next. This takes immense courage because, like me, perhaps you been deeply hurt. But it is in our hurt and broken places that we can turn to a higher power to ask for the strength to find the motivation and ability, maybe for the first time in a long time, to choose something different. To make a change and to dare to look for our open window that awaits us.

When life closes a door, be brave, honor the hurt, and then consider stepping away from the closed door to find your open window. Make the time to ask for help, make the time to call upon the Creator who made you and loves you like crazy. I have seen people do this many times. It is beautiful and powerful. And I never fail to admire the courage it takes.